Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Seeds We Sow

As our magnificent summer days gradually draw down to a close, I find a gratitude for the springs of hope found and the rather effervescent effects these past months have had on our simply being. Each day still brings a comforting warmth to our adventures along riverside, upon seashore or amongst our secluded magical forest, and the evening light still lingers about longer than it will once the inevitably approaching Autumny-Winter nights arrive, although, there is a noticeable shortening, if only by moments each day.

I am also rather pleased that I chose to set aside my sewing machine, my needles and treads, my pencils, and all of my other creatively crafty ventures (just for the time being) to utilise every moment possible we’ve been offered out beneath the sky spent floating upon lightly summer breezes, getting our fingers deep amongst the soil, and in further exploration of the great unknown beyond our big back garden. All of this has been substantial and symbolic in the strengthening of how we are to live life. But, it has been the process of creating our own rather productive vegetable garden that has really changed something in both myself and my no longer six year old boy, but as I write, whilst he sleeps, he’s in transition to awaken tomorrow as seven.

Ideally, a healthy garden starts with good soil, but occasionally we’re not so fortunate. Sometimes there is the need to nurture; to condition the soil which would otherwise only cause the plants stress and lack the goodness to produce strong and healthy vegetables, and herbs, and flowers. And then there are the seeds that we sow into that soil, that bring about colour and growth and life to otherwise bare earth left simply only with the potential for great things. I quite like the sentiment in such lessons both for gardening, and for parenting, and just in life for that matter; for it is the seeds we sow in our children that become the garden of their lives. So a few months ago when we first mustered some productivity out of the intention to start a garden, had begun building its structure and tilled and gently tended to the soil, we gathered ourselves some seeds. But their was one in particular that seemed extra full of potential......

A little pair of hands took that seed and placed it beneath the surface of the earth collected into a little pot by a window, and patiently we waited... Three days later that one seed sprouted two tiny little leaves and they began to stretch themselves out to bask in the warmth of the sun.

Two leaves grew, and then another, and another...

After a number of weeks, and many more leaves had grown as well as numerous courgettes which were picked and eaten, one particular courgette began to grow bigger than the rest, until it eventually became a marrow. 

Apparently once it had matured it would be full of seeds that we could harvest. So just like any other day, we set about to work through our list of daily tasks of living, and on this day it was to go in search of these seeds.

Farewell to Marrow, I'll miss you.

There were many lessons to be taught and learned through this journey. For a little boy one day off arriving at seven, many of these came to fruition when he saw the dozens of seeds inside a marrow he had grown from just one. There were lessons of patience and perseverance and the rewards of practicing such virtues. Lessons of nurturing and care, of germinating seeds and growing them into plants let alone into vegetables that can be harvested, cooked and eaten. Lessons of sustainability and development, and the ongoing process of composting our waste; of resourcefulness and creativity, of courage and adventure. And, of the cycle of life, in that all of what we had accomplished had started with one simple idea and one small seed. That one seed, went on to reproduce more seeds than we would need to grow courgettes to feed the whole neighbourhood next summer, and that first lingering thought has stemmed into a vast array of exciting ideas to nourish our minds as we pursue our ideals; to live resourcefully, sustainably, creatively and endlessly abundant with Life.

It's all in the seeds that we sow.


  1. The marrow on the back of the bike brought a big smile to my face. It is wonderful that you are teaching your son such important things about nature and growing food. After many years of gardening I am still thrilled to bits when I can collect my own seeds. Beautiful photos as always.

  2. Hey Matt! This post is exceptional. I am so impressed with the photos and content. What a remarkable orator and story teller you have become and what a excellent tribute to what a solo dad can achieve bringing up a fine you boy on a budget. It make a wholesome life not only look achievable but something to aspire too! I'm so surprised you have so few followers when so many people aspire too, are longing for the simplicity of the life style you have. Good man!

  3. I wonder where marrow is now?? Every time I think of that silly boat strapped on tight to the back of that little red bike it cracks me up! Amazing how each little seed remembers exactly who it is meant to be through all of those waiting months (sometimes even years) & doesn't turn in to a beetroot by mistake when it is planted. XX

  4. Oh my goodness I am so glad I have found your blog via Alison of Hill & vale. Your posts have substance and your photos are amazing! Thanks from your newest follower :)